ID@Xbox release parity clause still holding back indie devs

MouseCraft dev Crunching Koalas says it may never publish on Xbox One

Indie developers continue to lament the ID@Xbox release parity clause which demands that self-published games must be released on Xbox One before or simultaneously with other platforms.

The ID@Xbox program, which allows small developers to self-publish on Xbox One, came under scrutiny last year when Super Crate Box developer Vlambeer outed the release parity clause and the problems it can cause for indies who already have titles further into development for other platforms, and/or cannot cope with developing multiple versions at the same time.

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Poland-based developer Crunching Koalas says the clause may prevent it from ever publishing its current in-development game, MouseCraft, on Xbox One. "We don't know if it's going to be possible for us to publish it on Xbox One," said the studio's Tomasz Tomaszewski via OXM.

MouseCraft, a quirky puzzle game (trailer above) is already in development for PC, Mac and Vita, planned for release in May. Tomaszewski hopes to bring the Unity-based game to Xbox One later in the year (presumably once Xbox One tools for Unity are released), but according to the parity clause, Microsoft may deny it.

The clause is also problematic for indie developers who typically lack the resources to develop for multiple platforms at the same time. In December 2013, Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail called for the clause to be abolished.

"Honestly, we've had enough trouble with our promise for a simultaneous release for Luftrausers, so by getting rid of parity we'd be able to focus on one platform for Nuclear Throne first," he said.

"We'd rather Microsoft allow us not only the freedom to self-publish, but also to publish in whatever order we prefer.... We'll keep pushing for Microsoft to drop the clause, and we'd recommend any other developer to do the same."